Tactical Tailor

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Sergeant Paul Yauwiga WW2

New Guinean Police Sergeant Paul Yauwiga spent 1943 leading native guerilla bands on jungle reconnaissance missions and local psyops in Northern Bougainville. Recognizing his potential, he was re-deployed to Australia to train troops in Jungle Warfare in 1944. He had been advised in Bougainville not to engage with superior Japanese forces due to the value of the intel he provided, and his mission had always been “observe and report.” Yauwiga wasn’t a big fan of this and remarked, “Why do we run away the same as women do?”

The Australia gig quickly ended, as Allied forces needed Yauwiga to flush out the stubborn Japanese resistance still fighting in Bougainville in 1945. His first major contract was with a mixed band of 80 Japanese troops and tribal collaborations. He annihilated 25 of the enemy with two other guerillas after only 15 minutes.

He made sure to add some salt to the injury he caused to Japanese forces. Yauwiga killed a known tribal collaborator and spread false rumors that the now dead man had been an Allied agent. The Japanese responded with heavy-handed paranoia, executing 10 of their best spies. He followed this bit of genius psyops by arresting 30 other tribal collaborators and destroying the Japanese spy network in the process.

By June 1945, his small team had accounted for 57 confirmed kills over only 17 months in the jungle. Barefoot, bare-chested, and armed with a mixture of Allied provided rifles, and they punched well above their weight. Unfortunately, a white phosphorous grenade accidentally exploded in Yauwiga’s face in a freak accident as he attempted to signal Allied aircraft. He was evacuated to Australia, where his left arm was amputated and his left eye removed. A corneal transplant saved his right eye from the blue-eyed Australian donor, one of the earliest surgeries.

The first-ever blue-eyed Melanesian returned to New Guinea after only three months in hospital – too harsh for a long stint in bed. At his award ceremony, the local legend received a Distinguished Conduct Medal with 80,000 people. He remained a well-respected community leader until he died in 1982.

3 Responses to “SCUBAPRO Sunday – Sergeant Paul Yauwiga WW2”

  1. Jeff S says:

    Sounds like a great movie script!

  2. Philip says:

    They just don’t make ’em like this anymore. Much respect to Sgt Yauwiga.

  3. Taurin says:

    This was a good read. They dont make em like this anymore. A true warrior!!!!

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